We are pleased to read in the news today that the government has set up the Food Wise Hong Kong Steering Committee that will work out how to cut food waste by 10 percent in the next three years.
The committee is headed by Environment Secretary Wong Kam-sing and includes executives from Maxim's, Wellcome supermarket, food bank representatives, school principals, academics and environmental groups.
Wong pledged to introduce municipal sold waste charges by 2016 and consult the public next year on how to collect the fees.
He did not publicly say what the timetable was to cut down food waste, but sources said 2015 was the target.
"We are introducing the Food Wise campaign as a response to the chief executive's election platform to 'terminate' food waste," Wong said.
This would involve changing household habits, establish codes of practice for trades and facilitate donations of unused food to charities. It would also include having government and public bodies set a good example for the public.
A shocking 40 per cent of Hong Kong's solid waste is food and the volume is expected to increase as the economy grows. Last year more than 3,500 tonnes of food waste was dumped in landfills that are fast filling up.
Greeners Action executive director Angus Ho Hon-wai is a member of the committee that will meet for the first time Thursday. He thought a 10 percent reduction was definitely doable, he believed it could be tripled to 30 percent in the right conditions.
"It really depends on how much effort is put into it, how government departments work together, and whether the top leaders throw their full weight behind it," he said.
Meanwhile Friends of the Earth conducted a poll last month and found that 65 percent of the 1,000 respondents supported a waste disposal fee. The result is an increase of 13 percentage points since the group's previous poll in March.
We also think 10 percent is a shockingly low target, but perhaps it's one of those things where you under promise and overachieve. While we are pleased to see strong affirmative action on food waste by the government, what about other kinds of solid waste, particularly ones that can be recycled?
We cannot wait much longer for the government to finally step in and do something about recycling glass, paper, plastics and e-waste.
When everyone starts learning to separate garbage and compost, solid waste into landfills is going to dramatically drop.
It's such a simple thing to encourage people to do and yet the government cannot get its act in order to make this happen.
We need something done now.